Published: Mon, October 01, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

1,200 convicts escape Indonesian prisons in quake-tsunami zone

1,200 convicts escape Indonesian prisons in quake-tsunami zone

Three days after the disaster, thousands remained homeless, in desperate need of everything from medicine to blankets and food and water.

The government has mobilized state-owned enterprises and private companies to help with the procurement of basic needs for the victims.

"Record everything taken, inventorize it".

The disaster agency said later more heavy equipment and personnel were needed to recover bodies. He has no idea where she is now, or whether she is even alive.

"My mother cried a lot, she tried to pick up my father at his office", said Anisah, a civil servant in Jakarta, the capital. "I was carried about 50 meters. I couldn't hold anything", he said. "I last spoke to him before he went to school in the morning".

Others have centred their search for loved ones around open-air morgues, where the dead lay in the baking sun - waiting to be claimed, waiting to be named.

Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo was scheduled to visit affected areas of the city on Sunday.

The communications ministry said repeated warnings were sent out to residents via text message, but Nugroho said the quake had brought down the area's power and communications lines and there were no sirens along the coast. Officials said more than 380 were dead in Palu alone, and more were unaccounted for.

What is the situation in Palu? In outlying areas, the fate of thousands is still unknown.

The Indonesian government on Monday (Oct 1) said that as many as 1,200 inmates have escaped from three detention facilities in the devastated region of Sulawesi following an quake and tsunami disaster.

In Donggala, the site closest to the earthquake's epicenter, aerial footage on Metro TV showed the sugary blond sands of beaches swept out to sea, along with some buildings. The magnitude 7.5 quake struck at dusk Friday and generated a tsunami said to have been as high as 20 feet in places.

"When it shook really hard, we all ran up into the hills", a man identified as Iswan said.

Indonesia, which sits on the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire, is all too familiar with deadly earthquakes and tsunamis.

Yenni Suryani, of Catholic Relief Services, said devastated infrastructure was hampering rescue efforts.

“The full extent of the disaster is not yet known as communications are still down and rescue teams have not yet reached the district of Donggala, which was closest to the epicentre of the 7.4 magnitude quake.”.

Five foreigners - three French, one South Korean and one Malaysian - were among the missing.

Getting enough aid in may prove a problem.

Telecommunication services are being restored in Palu and surrounding areas, as Telkom Indonesia works to fix infrastructure damaged in the quake.

Video from the scene showed the double-arched, yellow bridge had collapsed with its two metal arches twisted as cars bobbed in the water below.

The main road linking the city of Palu to the rest of Central Sulawesi has been blocked by a landslide and the airport in Palu is operating at half capacity, making access hard.

"We received reports today that a water truck was looted by local residents", Dr Sutopo said, adding that a dire shortage of basic items led people to act irresponsibly.

Indonesian authorities scrambled on Monday to get help into quake-hit Sulawesi island as survivors streamed away from their ruined homes and accounts of devastation filtered out of remote areas, including the death of 34 children at a Christian camp.

The initial quake struck as evening prayers were about to begin in the world's biggest Muslim majority country on the holiest day of the week.

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